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Drishti Points

June 2, 2011

You may often find yourself “going through the motions” in a yoga class while your eyes wander around the room, maybe glancing at a graceful student a few mats away, instead of tuning into your own body and breath. A technique called drishti (gazing at a focal point) can help draw your outward looking eyes and mind inward, so that your asana practice becomes a moving meditation.Through the use of drishti you can cultivate a deeper level of concentration, improve your alignment, and tune into the inner sensations of the body in every pose, so that you’re practicing the way the ancient sages intended, with full awareness. As yoga expert David Frawley writes in Inner Tantric Yoga, “Fixing the gaze…not only concentrates the mind but draws our energy inward along with it, extending the action of pratyahara, or the yogic internalization of the prana and the senses.”

We often use drishti points in class for maintaining balance in one-legged standing postures like vrikshasana (tree pose), however,  the technique can be applied to any posture to improve your focus.

This week we will be using the nine drishti or focal points identified by Sri K Pattabhi Jois to help us tune into the inner sensations of the body during asana practice.
1. Nasagram drishti—tip of the nose
2. Ajna chakra or bhrumadhya drishti—between the eyebrows
3. Nabhi chakra drishti—navel
4. Hastagram drishti—hand
5. Padayoragram drishti—toes
6. Parshva drishti—far to the right
7. Parshva drishti—far to the left
8. Angushthamadhyam drishti—thumbs
9. Urdhva or antara drishti—up to the sky

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